father and daughter in doctor office

Advancing Public Health: MITRE and Mayo Clinic

By Denise Schiavone

The MITRE and Mayo Clinic strategic collaboration blends clinical expertise, interdisciplinary experience, and objective insight to address critical national healthcare challenges, including COVID, cancer care, and ethical use of artificial intelligence.

How can we enable clinicians to enroll people more easily in clinical trials, to improve outcomes for diverse patient populations?

How do we ensure the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is ethical and non-biased?

How do you deploy a verifiable vaccination credential in the middle of a pandemic?

Such questions are ones that no one organization can tackle alone. They require collaborations among stakeholders across government, academia, and industry, working together in an almost unprecedented cooperative, non-competitive way.

MITRE and Mayo Clinic are endeavoring to do just that.

Consistently ranked a top U.S. healthcare system, Mayo Clinic brings deep clinical and scientific expertise. In turn, MITRE offers 60+ years’ experience as an unbiased, trusted partner working across sectors and disciplines—including healthcare and data analytics.

Together, the duo leads and convenes coalitions in addressing some of our nation’s most critical challenges. Among them: pandemic response, cancer care, and ethical use of AI.

“As a trusted enabler, MITRE brings the unique ability to convene the right people in the right time and place,” says John Halamka, M.D., president of Mayo Clinic Platform.

“Mayo sees this kind of collaboration as what drives societal change, when multiple stakeholders work together to make magic happen at the intersection of disciplines.”

Helping People Live Their Lives

That magic can have life-changing, even life-saving, implications.

From the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition to the VCI™, a coalition for vaccination credentialing, MITRE and Mayo have together led the charge to get out in front of COVID.

For example, MITRE and Mayo joined with Microsoft and others to help drive development of a SMART health card for verifying vaccination credentials. With a scannable QR code, it’s helping populations safely engage in work, school, and travel, even as the pandemic continues.

“VCI is helping government leaders, both nationally and internationally, navigate things like how to enable international commerce and keep economies open,” says MITRE’s Dr. Brian Anderson, one of the lead architects of VCI’s vaccination credentials.

Additionally, MITRE and Mayo are also examining the COVID-19 therapeutics priorities for the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Department of Health and Human Services.

MITRE’s decades-long experience operating the federal R&D center for health enabled us to convene these and other key stakeholders now exploring using algorithms to determine monoclonal antibodies’ effectiveness against COVID-19.

Before, Bigger Than, and Beyond COVID-19

COVID continues to take an awful toll, but it’s far from the only—or even top—healthcare  concern on people’s minds.

Each year, more than 1.6 million people in the nation are diagnosed with cancer—the second leading cause of death in the U.S. And in the next two decades, experts anticipate the emergence of 27.5 million new cancer cases worldwide.

Since 2018, MITRE and Mayo have collaborated with industry leaders like Epic and other not-for-profits like the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to accelerate key innovations in oncology.

For example, the MITRE-developed mCODE™, or Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements, can be widely adopted to increase high-quality data for all kinds of cancer. Today Mayo is using mCODE, structured within patients’ electronic health records, to better track how treatments work for certain cancer conditions.

Of course, while cancer and COVID deeply impact people’s everyday lives, they aren’t the only healthcare challenges sparking collaborations. The growing use of AI—and the questions it raises around equity and reliability—is another area of interest.

Creating a Network Whose Sum Greater Than Its Parts

Beyond these established efforts, newer MITRE-Mayo engagements also hold big promise for improving public health outcomes.

For example, the two are founding members, along with the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, of the recently formed Advancing Clinical Trials at the Point of Care (ACT@POC™) coalition. ACT@POC aims to “bring together health systems, community-based care organizations, health research organizations and a more diverse group of patients and providers [to] make clinical trials simpler to conduct and more accessible to patients.”

Ultimately, the question is: Does any one organization have the resources to be able to do R&D and real-world analytics for all these huge healthcare challenges?

Halamka responds to that question with a definitive no.

“It requires a federation of organizations bringing data together in a privacy-protecting, intellectual-property-preserving way,” he explains. “A sum greater than its parts.”

A sum greater than its parts may be our best hope for making real progress against the magnitude of today’s healthcare problems.

To learn more, contact: partnerships@mitre.org.

VCI at a Glance

  • 200M vaccinated people in U.S. with access to VCI's SMART health card
  • 900+ public & private organizations supporting the effort
  • 300M global users of the technology